South Australians will have greater choice and flexibility when it comes to their supermarket shopping hours, with the Marshall Liberal Government granting an exemption to allow 24-hour weekday trading to help alleviate pressures due to the Coronavirus.
As part of the exemption, granted under the Shop Trading Hours Act 1977, all supermarkets and other non-exempt shops will also be able to open from 12am to 9pm Saturdays and 9am to 9pm Sundays.
The changes will apply from this Saturday (March 21) and run until Sunday April 19, inclusive.
Treasurer Rob Lucas said the exemption would provide much-needed flexibility for both consumers and retailers as they manage the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“This is an unprecedented move to help alleviate the pressure on South Australians when it comes to doing their supermarket shopping and will greatly assist them practise social distancing, considered by public health officials as one of the best ways to limit the spread of Coronavirus,” said Mr Lucas.
“While we don’t expect all supermarkets to take up the option of 24-hour trading, extended hours will also assist with supply of grocery stock and give supermarkets greater flexibility in relation to designated shopping times for certain sections of the community, like they’ve done with the elderly, if they choose.
“We expect this exemption will also support local jobs, with the potential for more shifts for those employees who’d like to work additional hours over the next few weeks.
“This is all part of the Government’s strong plan to support South Australians through this very challenging time – we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure not only is the community protected, but jobs are sustained.
“Unfortunately, our current archaic shop trading laws simply don’t allow for this type of flexibility and freedom of choice.”
Restrictions will still apply for non-exempt shops (ie supermarkets over 400sqm and other shops over 200sqm) on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Extended hours have already been approved for Easter Monday.
All employees working during the extended hours would do so on a strictly voluntary basis and no-one can be forced to work the additional hours.
Under section 5 of the Shop Trading Hours Act 1977, an exemption can’t be approved for a period of longer than 30 days.